23 Nov 2012

Online retail – the importance of speed and stability

The debacle that was the ‘Click Frenzy’ at 7pm on Wednesday night bought some hard truths to Australian retailers who plan to attract customers online – be prepared to be fast and stable, or be ready to lose sales. Click Frenzy was established to boost interest in Australian online shopping, with retailers signing up and offering big discounts to customers throughout a 24 hour period. Names such as Myer, Dan Murphys, Toys ‘r Us and The Iconic were on board for this event, and over 800,000 registrations guaranteed there would be a high demand for the goods. However, just before the clock struck 7pm, the site went into meltdown, and stayed that way well into the night. The situation could have been avoided. Many similar online shopping events are held in China and the US, with higher traffic volumes and up to billions of dollars in sales. The point is that if you are going to invite the traffic to your site, you have to be ready to cater for it – and this key step was missed by the Click Frenzy organisers. Missed by a mile. The optimal speed load time for a website varies with the complexity and type of content involved. But the real message to take away from the lessons learned on Wednesday night is that customers will not return to a site that completely blocks them for an extended period of time. Creating a site and infrastructure that caters for your client base and the way they like to do business is the key to ensuing you can keep up with demand. In essence, make your site accessible at all times. Simple.